Posts Tagged With: paradise

Planning your wedding or honeymoon? Look no further!

Tc honeymoon.jpgThose of you who have followed my journey will know that I am now working as a independent travel agent from my home in the country town of Frome in Somerset.

I can book any kind of travel anywhere in the world, but am also specialising in weddings and honeymoons. Having booked my own destination wedding to Lake Tahoe in California (best ever week of my life!) all via email and phone from the UK, I know exactly what it takes to plan your special day – even if it happens to be on the other side of the world!

I also planned our amazing round-the-world honeymoon which took us to the stunningly beautiful Aitutaki in the Cook Islands (simply paradise on earth), New Zealand and Hong Kong.

Let me introduce myself properly – in case you think I might be able to help you plan your own destination wedding and honeymoon.

“My name is Nicola and I am your personal travel counsellor with vast experience in the travel industry.

I specialise in helping people plan and book their dream weddings and honeymoons – anywhere in the world they want to go. I have helped people all around the world plan their special trips, including a very memorable Christmas honeymoon in New Zealand. I also planned my own destination wedding and dream round-the-world-honeymoon and fully understand everything that is involved in making your trip truly magical.

So why should you choose me to help make your wedding/honeymoon dreams come true? I can offer so much more than a high street or online travel agent. My focus is on providing a personalised and tailor-made wedding/honeymoon that is perfect for you, and I genuinely care that you both have the best possible time. I will get to know you and always go that extra mile and will help you create a completely unforgettable experience. I am also available 24/7 so can be there when it is convenient for you. Get in touch today and let’s start planning the wedding and honeymoon of your dreams!”

Please visit my website: http://www.travelcounsellors.co.uk/nicola.barnard and Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/nicolabarnardtravelcounsellor/ for more information and to get in touch.

Thanks so much to everyone for reading 🙂

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Categories: Activities, Australia, Cook Islands, New Zealand | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ever wanted to visit Paradise (aka The Cook Islands)? Let Blue Penguin Travel help!

With vast experience of travelling to and exploring the amazing island of Aitutaki, Blue Penguin Travel have now decided to expand the services that we offer to include planning trips to Aitutaki in the Cook Islands – which is simply paradise!

Blue Penguin TravelWho are Blue Penguin Travel?

To give you a little bit of background – Blue Penguin Travel is my own travel consultancy company that I set up back in February 2013, inspired by living in the most beautiful country in the world – New Zealand! Since then, after living in New Zealand for a year and travelling to almost every far-fetched corner of this stunning place, I have moved back to the UK and had a beautiful baby boy. Since setting up my company I have helped some wonderful clients have incredible adventures in New Zealand and I have loved every second of it.

In a nutshell, Blue Penguin Travel specialises in creating amazing off-the-beaten-track travel adventures in New Zealand and we offer awesome travel advice, care and expertise to create fully personalised travel itineraries. We can help you have the adventure of a lifetime in New Zealand.

We have now expanded our services – and will be offering clients assistance with planning their trips to Aitutaki in the beautiful Cook Islands. We can create personalised itineraries for your special trip to this beautiful island.

Aitutaki Lagoon

Aitutaki Lagoon

Why would I want to visit Aitutaki?

It really is so unimaginably unspoilt and many of the places you visit appear to have been taken straight from a picture postcard. Aitutaki is a tiny island, part of a group of islands called The Cook Islands – located deep in the South Pacific Ocean.

With its gorgeous pristine beaches and inviting turquoise waters, it is the ideal location for a honeymoon, special anniversary/birthday trip or a relaxing break away. The island is just developed enough to ensure you have a wonderful trip when you visit, but the facilities provided do not ruin or spoil the beauty of this incredibly beautiful island. It really feels like one of the very few unspoilt paradises left in the world.

Where is Aitutaki located?

The map below shows where Aitutaki is located (indicated by the star) – it really is in the middle of nowhere and is surrounded by a strikingly beautiful turquoise lagoon.

Many people have heard of Rarotonga – the largest of the Cook Islands, but Aitutaki is only a short flight from Rarotonga and much quieter, less developed and more relaxed. It is an incredibly beautiful place that has to be seen to be believed!

Aitutaki Map

A holiday house

A holiday house

What is life like on Aitutaki?

There are no high-rise buildings on the island (nothing above one storey), very few cars (many people travel around by scooter) and a very laid back way of life. Islanders refer to ‘island time’ as the time they live by – where no one rushes and no one can be early or late! All the islanders are incredibly friendly and lovely. As you explore the island by scooter (or car if you wish) they will often wave as they pass you on their scooter, or wave from their houses. Often goats and pigs roam free and it isn’t uncommon to find a loveable wild pig in your back-garden (we did!). Much of the fresh fruit and vegetables on the island are grown there and other food is shipped in once a week.

Deserted beach

Deserted beach

Where could I stay and what could I do on Aitutaki that is really special?

There are many different accommodation options to choose from to suit varying tastes and requirements – varying from small private villas and holiday houses to beach-front bungalows. You can sleep just metres from the gorgeous lagoon and listen to the waves lapping at the shore , or relax on a hammock and enjoy a cocktail on the beach looking out into the lagoon.

There are different activities you can take part in, but one of the most special is taking a private boat trip out on the lagoon to explore the other tiny uninhabited islands that surround Aitutaki for a day – get dropped off on your own private island, enjoy time in the sunshine on the pure white-sand beaches, snorkel, swim and relax – completely alone and away from any form of civilisation.

How can Blue Penguin Travel help me?

Let us help you put together an itinerary for your trip to Aitutaki that is completely personalised and tailored to you. We have insider information on the best food places and accommodation options, the best hidden secret beaches, the best swimming and snorkelling spots and the best boat trips out on the lagoon or activities to take part in (including fishing, scuba diving and traditional ‘island nights’).

How can I contact you?

Take a look at our website, our cook islands page and please contact us using our contact page or drop me an email at nicola@bluepenguintravel.com if you are interested in travelling to the stunningly beautiful island of Aitutaki in the Cook Islands and would like a personalised quotation. We can help you plan the trip of a lifetime to paradise!

Categories: Accommodation, Activities, Blue Penguin, Cook Islands, Destination Feature | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Paradise (Aitutaki in the Cook Islands) here we come!

Maina island - taken in 2010

Maina island – taken in 2010

Honeymoon island - photo taken in 2010

Honeymoon island – photo taken in 2010

This time tomorrow (although it is kind of this time today because of confusing time/date issues!!) we will be on the beautiful tiny island of Aitutaki in the Cook Islands. We visited Aitutaki – this gem of an island deep in the South Pacific – back in 2010 on our honeymoon and had one of the most amazing weeks of our lives. As we have been living in New Zealand for almost 11 months now  and we are so much closer to this wonderful place we decided to return to the beautiful island of Aitutaki to celebrate our 3 year wedding anniversary in the middle of August. We booked our trip back in January and leave from Auckland early tomorrow morning. Because we cross the international dateline we leave tomorrow but actually arrive today – it’s crazy! We fly from here to Rarotonga (which takes about 4 hours), and after a 3 hour wait will board the tiny plane that will take 50 mins to take us across to the amazing island of Aitutaki.

Drinks overlooking the lagoon

Drinks overlooking the lagoon

We will be staying in a lovely holiday house called Are Kapakapa where the hosts Miles and Emma have been incredibly lovely and helpful via email. We have hired a scooter for the two weeks and will make our way around on this – there are very few cars on the island, and it is very quiet and relaxed.

Have a look at Wiki’s travel guide for more info on Aitutaki if you are interested. Aitutaki has a population of just over 2,000 people and is only just under 7 square miles!  Visiting Aitutaki really is like going back in time to an untouched and unspoiled world, and it is exactly like the picture postcards of paradise.

There is very little internet access on the island, so I may not be able to post about our time on Aitutaki until we return, but it will nice to put our feet up and relax without thinking about the ‘outside world’ for a bit!

We are really excited about the next chapter of our adventure and our return to paradise! 🙂

Categories: Cook Islands, Photographs | Tags: , , , , , | 4 Comments

Glenorchy – living in Lord of the Rings country for a month

Tuesday 5th February – Friday 1st March: Glenorchy

Lake Wakatipu

Welcome to GlenorchyGlenorchy is certainly unique! We first came here for a day trip back in October – read all about our Glenorchy lagoon walkway walk and amazing LOTR 4WD tour with Glenorchy Journeys on my previous blog post. We then returned in December for a lovely 3 day Christmas break, where we did the amazing Dart River Jet boat Wilderness Safari. We were lucky enough to stay in a gorgeous house with a hot tub! We then popped back on numerous occasions whilst we were staying in Queenstown for a month – as well as stopping off at the lovely places along the drive (Wilsons Bay, Closeburn etc.).

Our lovely cottageSo, it seemed like a great idea when we decided to rent a holiday house for a month and live here after our time in Queenstown. We hired a car from trusty locals Queenstown Car Hire and arrived here on Tuesday 5th February. Our house – Mountainview Cottage – was just perfect! It had lovely open space all around, with all the right amenities inside just right for our stay. It also had air con – which we never thought we would use so much (it has been really hot!!). There are mountain views from every window which are just amazing. The living room is nice and cosy and it has a huge fireplace (never going to use it!). It also has a good work area for us both to work from home. We know we are really lucky to have work from home jobs (John doing his software development, and me working on my own start up travel consultancy – Blue Penguin Travel). We have been really busy with work so far, but have really enjoyed the peace and tranquility of living in this area. We really are surrounded by paradise (and actually, the place called ‘Paradise’ is about 20kms up the road!).

GlenorchyWithin a 5 minute walk we are on the Glenorchy jetty right on Lake Wakatipu, with stunning views all around. The Glenorchy lagoon walkway starts from there, which is just a wonderful walk. Being close to Queenstown is great, as we can pop into there for food shopping and to eat out (as we did on Valentine’s Day at Winnies).

There are some quite quirky things about living in Glenorchy too. it does feel pretty remote. It is about a 45 minute drive along a very windy (but scenic) road as it winds itself around the side of the mountain. There is no police here, only a volunteer fire service. It has two shops – one is tiny and part of the hotel and pub and visitor centre (it is all one – Basil Fawlty anyone?!) and the other is also small and is based by the campsite and anything it does sell is pretty basic with a high premium. It has two cafes, a tiny petrol pump and post shop and not a lot else! But we like it 🙂 Next door neigh-bours!It does also have some lovely horses who were our next door neighbours for a while. And it has quite a few random dogs wandering around (some cute – the little three legged one who likes to run alongside us, and some others not so much – there are some big scary dogs that every now and again get off their chains!). There is also one house that likes to play crazily loud music every now and then. There are lots of houses around it, and we are a few hundred metres away yet can still hear it. It is crazy actually that we are in the middle of paradise in such a small town, and still have people making noise like that! It proves that nowhere is perfect really (and that this can happen anywhere)! I guess they can get away with it because it is not like you can call the police!

Still, it is a real experience living here and one we won’t forget. We leave for Waiheke one week on Friday so will make sure we enjoy every minute we have left!

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Categories: Accommodation, Activities, Blue Penguin | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

A wonderful pre-Christmas break in Glenorchy

Thursday 20th December – Sunday 23rd December: A relaxing break in Glenorchy

Glenorchy

Having visited Glenorchy back in October as part of our holiday around New Zealand we decided it would be the perfect place for a relaxing pre-Christmas break. We flew down from Auckland to Queenstown and picked up our hire car. We stopped off at New World first to do the first part of the big ‘Christmas shop’ and then headed into town to have lunch at Winnies and spent time wandering around one of our favourite parts of New Zealand. We then drove to Glenorchy and it was just as beautiful as we remembered and we were really happy to be there! We hired a gorgeous holiday house – which was huge and had a lovely hot tub. After arriving we had a nice wander into the centre and along the jetty. The following morning we were due to to the Dart River Jet Safari but postponed our trip until the next day as much better weather was forecast for then. We enjoyed a lovely walk around the lagoon boardwalk and took a drive in the evening towards Paradise and the scenery was just amazing. I have posted separately about the Dart River Jet Safari which we did on the Saturday and which was incredible! We were sad to leave Glenorchy but really excited about my parents and sister arriving for an amazing Queenstown Christmas!

Categories: Accommodation, Activities | Tags: , , , , , | 4 Comments

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